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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warts & All, however...
This is a great read and tells it as it was for Ginger Baker, however, it must be read with some caution. The long running animosity that he feels for Jack Bruce requires to be taken into consideration. He has often gone on & on & on..... about how he hated the Bruce/Brown writing partnership, but this seems a little like sour grapes to me. Pete Brown was originally...
Published on 29 Sep 2009 by Numinous Ugo

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The best drummer ever but....
This is an easy book to read and if one imagine's Ginger's voice reading it to you then it adds to it! Obviously the best parts are from 1960-70 (even though it's covered much better in Dick Heckstall-Smith's overall superior autobiography),but the book has too much on drugs (like Noel Redding's book) and the parts about Nigeria and polo I found tedious - reading pages...
Published on 3 Oct 2009 by Daniel Ratner


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warts & All, however..., 29 Sep 2009
This is a great read and tells it as it was for Ginger Baker, however, it must be read with some caution. The long running animosity that he feels for Jack Bruce requires to be taken into consideration. He has often gone on & on & on..... about how he hated the Bruce/Brown writing partnership, but this seems a little like sour grapes to me. Pete Brown was originally brought in as Baker's intended writing partner but it did not take off. The reason why there were so many Bruce/Brown songs on the Cream albums and not many Baker song is because they wrote a lot and he did not. I have never seen any examples of piles of fine Ginger Baker songs that were inexplicably left off any of the Cream albums. Indeed Pete Brown, in a letter to the Mojo Magazine 197, defends himeself against the accusation, made by Ginger Baker, that he somehow stole royalities. He makes a pretty convincing argument that the Bruce/Brown writing partnership was central to the success of Cream and that Ginger has in fact been made considerably richer, particularly through the recent Reunion. He also states that had anyone suggested a four-way split of royalties for the Cream songs at the time he would have agreed to it.

Having said all that I must say again that this is a fine book and I would recommend it
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The best drummer ever but...., 3 Oct 2009
By 
Daniel Ratner (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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This is an easy book to read and if one imagine's Ginger's voice reading it to you then it adds to it! Obviously the best parts are from 1960-70 (even though it's covered much better in Dick Heckstall-Smith's overall superior autobiography),but the book has too much on drugs (like Noel Redding's book) and the parts about Nigeria and polo I found tedious - reading pages after pages about horses being used for a sport isn't for me. The biggest problem with the book is the lack of info regarding the music for example he recorded 3 studio albums with the Gurvitz brothers - not a mention. I guess that's why there's no discography, Ginger's the best drummer ever therefore his drumming on all studio recordings is great - the songs are irrelevant (maybe from a drummers point of view there might be some truth in that!). There are mistakes of course e.g. he writes that at the Madison Square gigs by Cream in 10/2005 Jack Bruce shouted at him during "We're going wrong" that he was playing to loud - I've heard the 3 gigs many times - no evidence of this happening etc. Finally the bits about Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon and John Bonham dying are sadly amusing, but none of this changes my respect for Ginger as the best drummer ever.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The drum god who lost the plot, 19 July 2010
As a drummer myself, Ginger was my hero in the 60s and still was until I read this. He comes across as conceited, egotistical and practically proud of his Junkie status. In fact the "Junkie vocabulary" becomes very tedious as did his constant womanising.

I wanted to read how he developed his unique and brilliant style of playing but it was pretty much glossed over in favour of obsessive rants about jack Bruce and where the next fix would come from.

Ironically he sacked a potential biographer for wanting to write about his sex and drugs episodes. Well that's the prime theme here along with Polo - drumming is very much secondary
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When will they get it?, 20 Feb 2010
I am a huge Clapton, Bruce and Baker fan - the music they made in the sixties is one of the eternal joys of my life - I never get tired of listening to those amazing improvised live performances as well as the studio stuff and all three were truly extraordinary. I read Clapton's biography and was disappointed - Baker's is worse. True, it is an easy read but he comes across as an agressive, amazingly selfish, self obsessed thug. When will these so called 'stars' realise that we are interested in them because of their increadible musical talent - that is why we go to see them time and again and pay handsomely for their performances and music. Why cant we hear about their talent and not the long endlessly boring stories of drugs, women and generally appalling behaviour? We can all do that. What we cant do is play the drums like Baker and that is why we are in awe of him. So sadly this book was another lost opportunity, like Clapton's, and really rather dull - Baker's agression, appalling treatment of his wives and other people generally and his various financial disasters, not to mention the huge drugs issues, just serve to diminish him in our eyes. Please tell us how you became so astonishingly brilliant at drumming and we will appreciate you far more. a little bit of acknowledgement to your millions of fans who have allowed you to pursue this outrageously self indulgent lifestlye might not go amiss either!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opener, but maybe not in the way Ginger intended..., 6 Sep 2013
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This is a revealing read for fans of Ginger Baker, though perhaps not in the way that Baker intended. He is the protagonist, rather than the hero of this tale of indulgence, excess, recklessness and violence. Reading "Hellraiser" feels like being cornered by a bar-room bore, intent on impressing you with his tales of derring-do and musical triumph. What ensues, however, is mostly a bitter diatribe, the main thrust of which is how, despite being a marvellous chap and the World's Greatest Drummer, he's been done wrong by a never-ending cast of musically inferior bandmates, ex-lovers, rogues, con-men and immigration officials.

Every single chapter contains at least one (and often all) of the following: drug mishap, fight, drug deal, car crash, drug bust, financial disaster, new girlfriend, band forms, band splits, re-location following major fall-out with associates / authorities. You get the picture. This could have been the recipe for an intriguing and entertaining story, but Baker quickly emerges as a deeply unpleasant personality with several substantial chips on his shoulder. One can't help but conclude that his massive ego and hair-trigger temper have resulted in him being the architect of most of his own misfortune. At no point does Ginger contemplate that he might have done anything differently. He does occasionally observe, following this or that debacle or betrayal, that "I felt a bit bad about that", but then he's off again, punching somebody's lights out or crashing his Jensen for the umpteenth time.

Compiled and ghost-written by daughter Nettie, Baker's voice comes through clearly. However, the story is patchily told. Major events are skated over in a few words. Cream's entire career, for example, is done with in little more than a single chapter. One woman is met, wooed and married in the space of a couple of lines. Baker flew to the States, brought back a female singer to join his band Airforce, subsequently firing her. The story is told over a few paragraphs - but not once is she named. Throughout the book, Baker's attitude towards 'chicks' verges on the misogynistic. One African girlfriend, until then the light of his life, meets with the disapproval of the chaps at the Nigerian polo club with whom Ginger is trying to ingratiate himself. Apparently her low-born status just won't do. "So I had to let her go", writes Ginger. How charming.

Don't look for anything interesting on the subject of drums or drumming, or of Ginger's approach and technique. Apart from taking every opportunity to remind us of the (fully justified) high regard in which he is held by his peers, Baker tells us nothing of any value about what it is, or what he does, that makes him such a great drummer. "Phil Seamen thought I was great and, while we consumed copious quantities of smack, he opened my eyes to African drumming" is about as revealing as it gets. We do read, at often tedious length, of his polo exploits, along with the predictable fallings-out, frauds, fights and financial disasters that seem to follow Baker wherever he goes and whatever he does.

In conclusion: a readable book, but don't expect the lowdown on Cream - or to like Ginger much by the time you've finished.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Enough Hell Raised, 22 Sep 2009
By 
J. HOLMES (uk) - See all my reviews
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I have to say I was a little disappointed reading this book. I guess, like most potential readers, we are really interested in the Bond, Cream and Blind Faith years, and not quite so bothered about polo! However, the latter forms a long and important part of Ginger's life, whereas those 3 bands combined covered only about 7 years! Having said that, I would still have liked to read much more about those times - I suspect there could have been rather more to come out of that period than actually appears in the book!
Ginger is very honest about the ups and downs of his life, and his long running feud with Jack Bruce. I shall be interested to read Jack's side of the story when his biography is released next year.
Nevertheless, this book is worth reading, although to be honest I did drift on a few occasions whilst doing so!
Bottom line is - Ginger may not be an award winning author, but boy, can he play the drums!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the cream of rock autobiogs by long shot, 14 Feb 2013
By 
A. Evans "andyevz" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ginger Baker: Hellraiser (Paperback)
I was aware of Bakers work and music before I read this but didnt know much about the man himself. Theres no doubt the guys had an interesting life and has a story or two to tell but I finished it feeling pretty let down. It's pretty amateurishly written and at times just a rather dull description of events rather short of any any embellishment or real feeling. He's clearly his own biggest fan with the ego the size of house and it gets a bit tiresome him banging on about how brilliant he is at just about everything and anyhing that does go wrong is clearly not his fault. I had to laugh at his dismay at his 2nd wifes infidelity given the way he treated the 1st one. He's a great musician without doubt but seems bitter and angry with it. I think his story in the hands of a professional writer could have made for a brilliant book as theres plenty of material there, sadly left to his own devices its probably one of the worst rock bio / autobiographies I've read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hell why did I buy this paperweight?, 4 Oct 2012
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D. Price - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ginger Baker: Hellraiser (Paperback)
I guess I always felt a bit sorry for Ginger Baker as he seemed to me to be the loser in the battles with Jack as well as seemingly making far less money from the band as a whole. I've seen it reported that Pete Brown makes considerably more than Ginger; how true this is I have no way of knowing.
I've always suspected that GB had a dark and violent side and I also assumed that he was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier so this book has confirmed those prejudices. Ginger Baker is not a person who I would actually like to meet; he comes across as being very arrogant; rude; defensive; violent and thoroughly detestable. His writing style is akin to those wonderful "What I did in my summer holidays" essays we were all forced to write in our early school years; only ours were better written! Every chapter follows the same basic structure; hooked up with someone fantastic; took some drugs; played drums fantastically well; scored some more dope; slept with someone incredibly good looking and scored some more dope or smuggled it past the cops brilliantly.
The book's title suggests that the author will regale us with stories of great merriment, debauchery of all kinds with the kind of detail that us adults crave. Frankly a Mills and Boon book is a better read. Ginger simply says: got drunk; pulled a fit bird; went back to her place and had wonderful sex.
Ginger is clearly his own biggest fan and has the ego of a small planet. Yes he is one of the best tub-thumpers ever to grace a stage, but frankly there are many who are better that have (so far) achieved much less. According to him, he is also a fantastic lover; drug smuggler; footballer; diver; driver; polo player; polo horse trainer; polo umpire and is responsible for all that is good in the world. He is also a nasty, violent, vindictive and cruel man who is stuck in the glories of his own past. As my kids would say, "he needs to get over himself". Although, in all fairness he does describe himself as being a `good normal' in the trouser department yet he says he was about the same as the legendary Jimi Hendrix. Oh yes, and he could have saved Jimi's life apparently.
Anyway, would I recommend this book? Yes, if you need something to prop up the leg of a wonky table or you only intend to read 4 or 5 chapters as you are a Cream fan or something. Other than that I would not bother; borrow it from a library and save the money to give to a more deserving cause than Mr Peter Baker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it all through, 15 Jun 2013
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Interesting book. Shame he does nt seem to have any insight into his problem... Never seems to be his fault. But what a full life!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Guy's a right loser, 26 Dec 2012
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i have grown up playing Cream's music and thought Ginger Baker was a fantastic Drummer. after reading this book my opinion
of the man has took a dramatic "U" Turn
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Ginger Baker: Hellraiser
Ginger Baker: Hellraiser by Ginger Baker (Paperback - 7 Jun 2010)
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